Tequila

This post about tequila will start out talking about absinthe.  Why?  Because it’s purported that Vincent Van Gogh’s drink of choice, absinthe, has hallucinogenic properties.  The hallucinogenic properties in absinthe have their origins in a drug called thujone which is most concentrated in grand wormwood (genus Artemisia Absinthium) and what gave the old world absinthes their green color.  The funny thing about Absinthe today, however, is that it really doesn’t have any thujone in it, but rather green food coloring.  When people describe their trippy experiences with absinthe, they’re most likely having a placebo effect and getting drunk from some high proof alcohol.  I think (and it could be my imagination too) that the blue agave from which tequila is derived actually gives you more of an hallucinogenic twist than just drinking regular alcohol.  It’s non-scientific, but many years of personal research have led me to believe that there is something different going on after a couple tequilas have been consumed.  So, why don’t we get started and talk about tequila and its history.

Similar to brandy, as we turn the pages of history backward, we find that we must again give thanks to the Spaniards.  In the 16th century conquest of Mexico for the Spanish Crown, distilling technology crossed the ocean and wound up in Mexico City.  The Mexicans were already on to something for centuries drinking the fermented juice of the Mezcal plant in the form of a beverage called pulque.   For hundreds of years, however, only the highest authority figures in Aztec and Mayan culture were able to celebrate in this pleasure of drinking pulque.  When Spaniards arrived, they were able to change the Indian process into a distillation process and put into production North America’s first commercially produced distilled beverage and bring this blessing to the people.

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Brandy

Spanish_reconquistaBrandy is made from distilling wine.  Its proliferation started when the Moors left the Iberian Peninsula in the 15th century.  The persecution and forced conversion to Catholicism of the Muslim population during the time of the Reconquista in the second part of the 15th century caused a mass exodus of Muslims.  In their hasty exodus of what is now Spain, they left behind the stills they used to distill their alcohol.  The Spaniards were skilled wine makers and it did not take them long to start using those stills to turn their wine into what would later be called Brandy.  Within 100 years, distilled wine or Brandy, had made its way all across Europe.

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